Lately my two oldest children have been working feverishly on writing their own novels. One thing that has spurred this desire to write recently is that they both have their own netbooks. Having their own laptops has made writing even more enjoyable for them since they're no longer tied to the computer desk when they want to write. Now they can type out their story just about anywhere — in their beds, on the couch, on the porch, and even in the car,
Jaden and Jerah definitely have the motivation to write, so we've been looking for ways to build on that natural desire. We love that they enjoy writing, but we'd love it even more if they learn to write well.
On the recommendation of their writing teacher, last night we took the kids to a book signing event given by Bryan Davis, author of several fantasy book series for young adults. When we signed up for the event we had no idea who Bryan Davis was and had never heard of his books. But we remedied that quickly, buying Raising Dragons, the first book in his Dragons in Our Midst series and having the kids read through it. It's really no surprise that they both loved the book.
The book signing event itself exceeded my expectations. Mr. Davis spent about 90 minutes talking about the value of fantasy, delving into aspects of what makes a good story. Using The Lord of the Rings as a model, he illustrated the myriad ways that fantasy can affect a reader in a positive way. He also shared his personal story of how he became an author, taking care not to whitewash anything. He even brought his folder of rejection letters and shared a few gems with us.
As we were leaving the event, before we'd even gotten to the car, Jaden told us, "My story is junk."
He didn't sound discouraged or upset, so we asked him what he meant by that. He explained that after hearing what Mr. Davis had said, he wanted to take a week and think through his story line, to make sure that it was actually — well — a good story. Instead of just jumping into it blindly, he was going to plan it out a bit, to make sure it was actually going to go somewhere.
Apparently he'd been listening intently to everything Bryan Davis had said that night — and he was inspired!
Thank you, Mr. Davis!